I realized I haven't been writing many blogs round these parts mainly due to lack of something meaningful to say, lack of time, and above all just being a lazy shit. Well, just to impose my presence, how about a short list of my top five games. I could do more, but then it would probably just turn into some kind of incoherent, self-serving rambling I'm prone to do. Anyhoo, short and simple. Here goes.
Why the hell Square hasn't revisited the mechanics of this game again is beyond me. With an ATB modified for grid based tactics I have yet to find another tactics game that had me thinking ahead like FFT did. Want to decimate your foe with a sick Firaga spell, you're going to have to plan on where they're going to be in six turns. Toss in fun classes like mathematicians and mimes, one of the best narratives in a FF game to date (sure, some of the translation was bad, but still), and a beautiful art style and you've got a game that you will sink hundreds of hours into and not even wonder where your time went.
This quote is possible the best quote ever said.
"When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your damn lemons, what the hell am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life's manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! With the lemons! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!” - C. Johnson
Great game too!
Based of Harlen Ellison's short story of the same name (Google it, read it, it's wonderfully disturbing) IHNMAIMS was the first mature game I played and remains one of the few examples of tastefully disturbing done right. It's a point and click adventure that just nails it on the atmosphere which does help cover up some of its glaring problems like those wonderful pixel hunts we all loved from late 90s games.
Basically a self aware AI has kept some horrible people alive to perpetually torture because it has nothing better to do other than hate humanity. It's not a happy game to say the least but within my daily deluge of bright, primary colored Nintendo games, IHNMAIMS brings a nice counterbalance to help me explore my darker side of gaming.
What can I say that hasn't already been said about this masterpiece? It wasn't my first Zelda game (I started with the original gold cartridge), but it's the one that impacted my love of gaming the most. Art style, game play, sword swinging, puzzles, story, music, oh deer god the music. I love this game for pretty much all the same reasons you love it.
I was close to making BotW my number one but decided to hold off and let it simmer for about a year before making any rash decisions. Though, to topple Majora's Mask would be no easy feat.
When I first played MM I enjoyed it enough, but wouldn't have said it topped OOT or ALTTP. Even as time went on I found myself listing WW and TP ahead of it. Then when the remaster hit the 3DS a couple years ago I found myself completely moved by this amazing game.
Chalk it up to improved graphics or quality-of-life improvements, but what I really think is I went from a 20-year-old still figuring who the fuck he was to a 35-year-old still trying to figure out who the fuck he was but with a slightly better idea from some years of experience.
One of the things I've learned over the past few years occurred when I made a dramatic shift in profession. Going from working way too many years in the culinary industry to working as a teacher by some random chance (kinda long love story, maybe I'll tell it one day). I had discovered this nascent passion for teaching and I couldn't be happier with my job.
Upon reflection on why enjoy my job so much boils down to that I just really enjoy helping people. Always have, always will. Sometimes for selfish reasons, sometimes not. I just like seeing people happy. There are deeper reasons, but that's a bit too personal for tonight. Anyhoo, I had wondered many times why there aren't many games where you can help people be happy. Always saving the world or forging your own quest. Within the fantasy there's little appreciation for the small joys (though games are approaching it much better these days). Through the small, good things we attain these little bits of joy, even if often bittersweet.
MM gets these little things. Sure, there is the overarching theme of coming to terms with loss and the meditation on self-identity which also resonates with me, but helping a farm hand stop aliens stealing their cows or hooking a brother up with some TP is where the game hits me in the gut. Just being nice, even in a virtual world feels good. And the more you seek out to be helpful, you'll find there are plenty of denizens who need it whether they ask or not. Just like life.
And deer god, the Anju and Kafei quest. Queue the feels!
MM also has great dungeons and a unique aesthetic I enjoy a lot as well. And the Clock Town theme is my favorite bit of Zelda music second to the timeless Overworld theme.
Favorite Album- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son - Iron Maiden
Favorite Film- tie- My Neighbor Totoro and The Big Lebowski
Favorite Book- tie- Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and 1Q84 by Haruki Marakami